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Chasing 2 AM

It was 2 AM and my toddler was crying out in his sleep, thrashing his body around desperately.

I comforted him the best I could and he calmed down.

But I?

I was hit with a memory. It washed over me with intense clarity and I lay there in bed, my insides falling out all over again.

My leg began to ache in the exact spot it had ached way back in my childhood when I thought I had growing pains.

Only this time, I’m 30 something and growing pains happen to me heart, not my leg. So they must be connected.

I knew what I had to do. Wide awake and heart pounding, I pushed blankets and pillows around my toddler so he wouldn’t roll out of bed. Shivering and weak, I carefully made my way downstairs.

I put water on for tea.

I was shaking in the stillness and the fear that this memory clenched my heart and body in. It was strange because the memory was an emotional one more then a physical one. They are entwined.

Brew the tea. Make it Lemon Balm and Lavender. It aids relaxation. It promotes calm.

I curled up with a blanket and my pen and notebook and I let it out.

This time, I wasn’t going to force myself back to sleep. This time I wasn’t going to pretend it was nothing. To shame myself into believing that my reaction was overkill.

This time I explored it and I chased it down and although I don’t have all the answers, I found peace. I found release. I gave myself a hug instead of criticism. I gave the other person grace instead of resentment.

I found forgiveness and I gave forgiveness.

The pain in my leg is nearly gone.

My second cup of tea is steeping.

I sit in sweet silence after my fear and ravaging and I eat a piece of pumpkin cake. Slowly. Intentionally. The flavor of cinnamon and cream cheese and the dense steady texture of baked pumpkin.

I feel like perhaps this was the remembrance that Jesus spoke of when he asked us to partake of his bread and body. The love and nourishment He meant for us to receive.

Broken for me. Broken for you.

Communion with The Divine comes in different forms.

I choose to thank and embrace and be loved. To feel held and cherished with every bite of pumpkin cake.

With sips of warm, comforting tea.

Everyday cutlery. Every day food.

Partake slowly and know that you are connected to life and love and nourishment.

You are connected to the Divine.

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When You Fear the Questions

Our heart struggles to find meaning

To know the answers to the core questions

And we hide when we don’t.

Shame is a trap that suffocates the light from the soul

Fear keeps our questions looking like monsters

Misery tell you that you should be better then this

And still.

You sit in silence

And wonder why the questions

Have no pat answers

And when they do,

You question the perfect existence of them

Because nothing in life is perfect

Divine peace comes with divine intervention

When nothing makes sense

When death steals

And loneliness engulfs

When the past hurts and the present is survival

When you know you have so much but

The questions still burn in your brain

And more then anything else,

You FEAR.

You fear the questions

Where they will take you

You fear the answers

How they are waiting for you.

The discomfort of growth is never an easy rising

“Flying is not the hard part

It’s where you go when you do”

-Boris the Goose in Balto III

Choose to trust as the geese.

Trust the air.

Trust your natural instincts.

Trust the migration.

Trust when you cannot control it and it makes no logical sense.

You can be confident and ask questions at the same time.

Follow forward to the Divine Mystery whether you have answers or not.

And don’t forget to enjoy life as you go.

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Six Days of No Reading

It’s true. This girl took a break from reading.

This book loving girl who would trace the lines of words before she could even read them.

This girl who was ashamed to stand and read the first word in her Reading class while everyone looked on. She would always have that one bold three letter word which was centered in the middle of the white page blazed into her memory.

God.

And when she scooted her chair back, stood by her desk, and read that one word, she cringed a bit inside. How was it considered reading to stand up and repeat one word with all seven of the other students in her class? How was it considered a milestone to utter one syllable and that meant you were reading?

She wanted to devour whole books. Sniff their freshly printed pages and bask in the black print, clear and clean.

Reading became her life line. Her escape from reality. Her search of one more thing. She read in bed and while she worked and in the bathroom. Shampoo bottles and cereal boxes and chip bags. Children’s books and flyers and encyclopedias.

She was 8 years old when she got her first journal and it was the best birthday gift ever. She wrote about rollerskating and the strange man they saw beside the road and about who was dating and who was engaged and who was pregnant in her church. She wrote poetry in magnolia trees and dreamed of rescuing abandoned babies and working in an orphanage.

And she read.

I’m this girl and I’m doing a course by Julia Cameron on recovering your creative self. Last Sunday when I read the assignment, I nearly quit breathing.

“No reading for a week.”

Now back when the course was written, there was no social media, and no blogs. My reading challenge just got harder.

I never count the pages I read a day. In fact, some days, I don’t pick up an actual book, I dare say. But you can be sure that if I read shampoo bottles in the bathroom as a kid, I read Pinterest quotes now.

The only way I could see this working was to totally go off my regular online sites for the week. Plus leave my pile of current reading books untouched.

No one was forcing me to do this. I had made no commitment to anyone that I would do EXACTLY what the course suggested but something in the challenge stirred me. Often when you feel extreme opposition that borders on anger about something like this, it’s hit a tender spot and you may need the challenge more then you think.

I decided to jump in and try giving up this good thing of reading to see what would shake out of my life or my mind or subconscious. I wasn’t expecting much. I hated the thought. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. But I had to try.

The first two days weren’t too bad. I found myself connecting with friends I hadn’t connected with for awhile (granted it was through messaging, but that’s a bit like writing a letter in my mind). I drew doodles and made a few cards for friends while I waited in the car. I attended a conference with my husband and was more attentive then I would have been if I had been scrolling through my phone to fill in time.

And I did peak at Pinterest. But I tried to limit myself to inspiring pictures instead of wordy quotes.

Day three I woke up feeling angry. It felt like I had been wrestling my toddler all night. He was having a very hard time sleeping and I was exhausted when I woke in the morning. I felt off center, grouchy, and touchy.

This whole ‘not reading’ thing was really getting to me. I felt like I needed a brain reset. I felt like I needed to get outside my head. Think of something else. Find encouragement for my soul. I felt trapped in a corner with no escape.

I knew enough about detox or any kind of change to know that often Day Three is horrid and you think you are truly crazy. It’s also usually just before the break through that you feel the worst. So I stuck it out – this horrible ‘not reading’ thing.

Day four I woke, having slept better, but still feeling frustrated and irritated. I selfishly directed it toward my husband. We had a big discussion to put it mildly. I sat at one end of the table and he at the other and we volleyed words and feelings back and forth and at the end, we sat beside each other and agreed to a plan that worked for both of us. As the old saying goes, ‘we kissed and made up’.

Turned out we were both feeling misunderstood. Turned out we both needed to move toward each other instead of away. Turned out at 1:30 PM he went to work when he had planned to go at 8:30AM.

Day five, I woke refreshed. It wasn’t just that my toddler had slept most of the night; it was also that we were starting a new chapter and that felt good. Would we get stuck on repeat? Most likely, but that was all part of growing and learning.

I drove to our fixer upper that morning and didn’t want to stop driving. After doing a quick coat of sealer on the countertops, I jumped in my car again, notified my husband, and set off on a little road trip. Just to clarify here…I go on drives to relax but never miles and miles out of town. This time, I felt like it was something I really needed to do for myself.

I drove over 160 miles and enjoyed the scenery and listened to music and a podcast, drank coffee and saw gorgeous mountains and wildlife. My toddler rode along and actually did amazing. I stocked up on groceries, found a mirror at a thrift shop for our fixer upper, and got back by 3 PM. It was exactly what my heart needed to recharge and relax.

Day Six, I felt satisfied. Like my experiment had been successful and like I was ready to break the NO Reading spell.

So what did I learn by taking a break from reading?

I learned that not reading makes me feel angry.

I read for inspiration.

I read to get out of my head.

I read to learn and I read to grow.

I read to distract myself or when I don’t want to talk.

I read to fill in moments.

I read to heal and to feel.

What did I do instead of reading?

I made more contact with friends.

Drew small sketches.

Took a drive.

Organized the kitchen cupboards.

Went to a seminar for one reason and came home with a different reason.

Slept more.

Watched my child exclaim over Christmas decorations in a store.

Had a long conversation with my husband.

Made goals with my husband and with myself.

Was it worth it?

Yes.

Hard and uncomfortable.

But worth it.

I may devote a day a week to No Reading so I’m forced to get other things done. Then again, maybe I’ll just try to be more intentional with my time.

A brain that reads can grow and become. That’s what I am reaching for. That’s what I am grateful for.

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Be A Child 

It’s getting late but sleep hasn’t found me yet. I haven’t written in a long time. I know. I keep shoving it off. Thinking that eventually I will find my voice again. Call it processing life or writers block or busy holidays or laziness. Whatever it was…I’m back. Because when I can write, I feel alive. Life makes more sense. 

I have a whole huge Rubbermaid tote of journals (plus more 😉) that I poured my heart out in as I grew up. I remember my very first tiny journal with the cute cat and the clasp lock and the purple binding. I was 8 years old and it was a dream birthday gift that I adored. I still have it. When I was eight, my journal and my rollerskates were my favorite things. I felt alive when I flew down the country road on those skates. I felt deep happiness and thrills when I stroked the gold gilted  journal pages. It was fun to be eight! 

A kid at heart. Growing up among animals and creeks and a whole farm to play on . Dreaming of fresh strawberry pie with mounds of whipped cream. Sitting in my favorite magnolia tree with the perfect y shaped branch that cradled my little self. It was there that I dreamed dreams of rescuing babies and wrote poems about nature. 

Tonight spoke deeply to my heart. Pastor Steve spoke about children. About how we place kids in a box by thinking they will eventually grow up and be the people that make a difference. Like they are on some kind of probation until they get it all together and figured out. But God told Isaiah…”Don’t say that I am just a child….you will go where I send you!” We NEVER have to figure it all out before we can bring God glory!  

You are not ‘just a child either’. In fact, Jesus said the ONLY way to get to heaven is to become as little children. Pastor Steve gave a wonderful example of this by having a whole group of kids gather at the front of the church. He asked them questions, since they are the MASTERMIND of QUESTIONS! 😄 They were so honest. So innocent. So point blank and uncomplicated in their answers. No agenda or hidden meanings. No fear of saying the wrong thing or embarresment that their favorite thing about Christmas was gifts😊 And yes, Jesus was of course mentioned as well 👍

Then they sang a beautiful song for us. Now I know that every mother immediately looks for her child in a group. That her heart does this crazy little happy dance when their eyes meet. But when I saw my little Kobe up there, my heart did all these crazy jumps. Because, you see, he was our surprise child. Our miracle baby. His was the first voice I heard call me Momma. His were the first steps I watched wobble across the floor. It hurt at the same time because his older sister can’t show me the wonder of it until we get to Heaven. While she should have been the first to show me these things, God created her for a different kind of wonder and glory. Her life was a pure, living testimony of God’s love. And she was so wonderfully beautiful! She was so good at it! 

I sat there, weeping through the song. Wishing Kierra could be up there with him. Wishing he had a sister to share Christmas joy with. I wept because he could just as well have been nonverbal and held in my arms tonight. He could have never taken a step, or lifted one hand to heaven in worship. But he was singing and worshiping God with his little hands raised high as he sang. He was alive and moving and smiling and standing proudly with his friends. While part of me wept for what Kierra will never do here on earth, another part of me wept with happiness for him and the miracle I was watching right before my eyes. Our child. Was lifting his eyes to heaven and praising His Creator. 

//Come all ye faithful

See the love, see the grace

That is born unto us tonight

Come all ye broken
See the love see the hope

That restores everything that’s been lost
In the silence of the night,

All the stars bow down
Hear the angels sing?

Hallelujah
Jesus Christ is born unto us this day
Hope has come to us tonight

Death is drowned out by His light
Hope is here and He’s alive

Takes our pain and lifts our eyes
Come all ye weary

See the peace see the joy

That’s been born unto us tonight
Come sons and daughters and rejoice in His love
For in His name the world will find its hope
In the silnece of the night,

All the stars bow down
Hear the angels sing?

Hallelujah! //-by Generation Unleashed.

I like to think Kierra listened from Heaven and even joined him. I like to think she smiled and danced and twirled in joy. If she could see me now, I think she would show me how she worships. How her pure child heart is exactly what Heaven needed. How her glory brings God glory. 

I hold this truth close to my heart. Be you. Bring glory to God in whatever way He has created you.

Be simple. Be real. Never stop asking and marveling in wonder. Be a child. 

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Mother’s Day and Grief

“Let us then with confidence 

Draw near to the throne of grace

That we may recieve mercy 

And find grace  to help 

In time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes life comes at you like a train wreck and you feel an inevitable collision headed straight for your heart. Time marches on and has no mindfulness of stepping aside and tiptoeing around pain. So I am learning to tip toe.

Mother’s Day is just a few days away and I have had a rough week to be totally honest. This past week has been full of exceptionally wonderful times even as I slug through emotional lows and grief. I strained an arm muscle last week and it has been a nagging ache ever since, my shoulders hurt from doing a rock job that I plan to write about later since I learned some really valuable lessons, working in dirt and rocks for hours on my knees, I have bruises on my legs from unidentifiable times and while I was cleaning up the back yard, I backed into an ugly,nasty ,sharp tree branch that was waiting to be turned into fire wood. My wheelbarrow load of extremely heavy soil and weeds tipped over and took me with it. I have nasty scratches on my legs that sting. I was baking huckleberry scones and the parchment paper slid off the pan into the 450 degree oven and I burned every finger down to the phalanges. Well, not quite 🙂  my four year old had meltdowns for strange reasons this week and he ate dates out of a bulk food bin at the store. He has an abscess in his mouth and hid behind me, jumping away from my hands when ever I tried to catch him in the Dr. office. 

Physically I was a wreck. My hormones were screaming at me. My muscles ached and my bones were ‘like water’….-(King David). I was so cold and I couldn’t get warm. This seemed to drag on all week long. Not a pretty picture for Mother’s Day. 

But there was a saving grace. I felt God near. I had dinner with a friend who spoke words of life and prayed for me. I got a hug from a beautiful soul I had never met before. She put her arms around me and held me while I cried because I missed Kierra so very much. I had little messages of Gods love and grace sprinkled through every day. I felt so very loved and blessed, while I felt so weak and helpless.

Grief is tricky and you can’t always predict what  will trigger an emotion or a memory. But you can learn to slow down. To breathe. To tip toe. To take time to acknowledge how you are feeling. To be OK with that feeling. I am learning to take that emotion to Jesus. Just telling Him, “I don’t know why I’m feeling like this right now, but I am. I need You!” takes the pressure off myself and my feeble attempts to analyze and fix myself. I can never fix myself but My Father has the perfect solution to every single thing I face. So I rest my case in His love.

For years, I struggled with accepting compliments. To often there was a barrier in my mind like a 10 ft wall, 3 foot thick. I deflected words of kindness and compliments. I turned my mind into denial mode. Instead of allowing encouraging words to bless me and build me up,  I chose to look at my faults and short comings by adding thoughts in my mind like, “if you only knew…” Somehow, in a weird way, I think I was trying to be the be the perfect Mommy in order to fill in the aching gaps in my life. Human perfection and striving can never fill in the gaps. Only God’s grace, acceptance of life, and acknowledging Truth will filter light into those dark spaces. Genuine, beautiful LIGHT! 

Negative thoughts are always destructive. 

“I am not enough.”

“I am such a mess. No one knows how I act under pressure at home.”

” I will never be good enough.”

Those words are all so starkly true, and I came to the place that I realized my total brokenness and dependance on God. But. His grace and love and forgiveness came in and took that sin away. To continue thinking negatively and constantly refusing to accept words of life and blessing, causes patterns of more grief and confusions. That kind of grief is so wearying and wearing that no mommy can stand under it. 

This Mothers Day I want to celebrate the good God has placed in me. I want to thank every one of my friends for telling me that I was a good Mommy to Kierra. That I am a good Mommy to Kobe. I want to embrace the beauty God has placed in me. The love He has redeemed me with that calls me His daughter. His bride. I want to rest in the hands of the One who created my Mommy heart. I want to revel in how very loved I am. How I was fashioned and born from the heart of God. 

A Mother’s heart hangs onto impossible hope. 

It bleeds compassion. 

It smiles and laughs for the sake of the children when it wants to howl at the cold unfair world.

It gives when it is inconveniate and exhausted…

Because it is born out of the heart of God.

Birthed with struggle.

Birthed from pain. 

Birthed for beauty.

It is a strong heart that stretches down to the depths of earthly hell, physical death, gut wrenching heartache, and it rises to eternal hope and the realms of heavenly beauty.

It is bigger then us. 

Because it is born from the heart of God. 

We can’t control it.

We can’t understand it.

We can’t always follow it.

But we can GIVE it. 

It is created for Gods glory.

And it is beautiful.

“For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory.  

All glory to Him forever!” Romans 11

No matter what situation you find yourself in this Mother’s Day, I want to ask you to simply BELIEVE!

Believe that you are loved. Beautiful. Gifted for your task. Cradled in God’s arms. He hasn’t forgotten you or overlooked your pain. He sees your struggle. You can simply rest in Him. He will fill in the hard places. He delights in you and accepts you right now, just the way you are. 

If you knew….really knew how MUCH God loves you, your insecurities would fade away. He loves you the most….because He is divine like that. 

Live like you are loved like crazy. Because you are!

And all through the day, tell Jesus how much you love Him!

  
  

Thoughts On Life · Uncategorized

BELIEVE and a Giveaway!

It’s cold. It’s winter.

IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!

And in just a few days, it will be another thing.

our seventh wedding anniversary.

I think this is the perfect time for a little give away to my lovely friends on this blog! So here it is…

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A Christmas Light Canvas.

Read a bit farther to understand why I chose the word BELIEVE and to see how to enter the drawing to win.

I hope that this winter finds a glow in your heart. The privilege to BELIEVE. even when it’s hard.

A bit over 8 years ago, my Big Guy and I met for the very first time.

I from the East.

He from the West.

Just in case you didn’t know, I LOVE a happy, fuzzy romantic love story. One of our first ‘run ins’ was at the bottom of a Rocky Mountain foothill under a gorgeously lovely moon that was edging the frigid clear night with it’s impossibly soft warmth…..

a perfect set up for some heart sparks to fly.

Instead, I was bleeding red all over the front of Steve’s grey jacket and was convinced that every breath would be my last. That’s what happens when the most lovely innocent toboggan ride with girlfriends ends abruptly.That’s what happens when barbed wire meets face.

Cruel cold steel wired across flesh. And scars were created. It was ugly. And scary. And not at all what I planned.

I don’t believe in omens but do I believe in God’s omnipotent plan for our lives. Sometimes, in my wandering moments, I wonder if God was trying to tell us something way back then. That He makes beauty out of bloodshed. He keeps us breathing when we have no strength left to keep going.That life doesn’t always make rational sense.

Exactly a year after that accident, my heart had come a long way. I was learning trust and love and commitment and laying down silly notions and ideas. (yeah. i’m still working on that stuff:)

One thing was bigger then ever…those lovely heart sparks were flaming higher and hotter then ever! We were getting married!

December 7, 2006

The day I thought I would die.

December 7, 2007

The day I promised my life to the best Big Guy in the world.

happy happy wedding day!!!

(i laugh to think of all the near disasters that surrounded even that day)

The ironic thing was, the year before, I had gone west to teach a tiny school and carve out time with my Heavenly Father and try to figure out some hard questions of life. I wasn’t interested in guys.

But girls will be girls.

And when that true Love steals into your heart no matter how much you try to deny it….well, lets just say I was honored and thrilled!

It’s been seven years. There’s been bloodshed in our hearts. But there’s also been warm hugs that take in all the pain. So much love that pain morphs into beauty.

So many wonderful moments and happiness.

But we still live in a fallen world. As long as we are here, we face it.

Sometimes its hard to BELIEVE.

When I want my way and I don’t want to play fair and I am sure we are heading for disaster. When I let ridiculously small unimportant everyday things turn into a monstrous block wall. When I bang my head against it and wonder why it doesn’t budge. When I misunderstand.

It’s hard to believe.

When life hands me things I never asked for and warps my confidence that God is good. All the time.

It’s hard to believe.

When I don’t know what will happen next in life and it feels like your stuck in the waiting room. And you don’t want to be there.

It’s HARD to believe.

When others hurt and you can’t take away their pain.

It’s hard to BELIEVE!

I never would have believed my life if you had laid it out orderly for me while I was packing my bags for Montana 8 years ago.

It has been so wonderfully GOOD and GRAND!

But it’s also been brutally hard.

(Don’t we all have our own hard battle to face!?)

It is my life. And I embrace it.

Because I believe!

And that’s all because of God, my loving Father, who has PROMISED

(FOREVER AND ALWAYS NO MATTER WHAT)

to keep me and never leave me.

My husband. My amazing wonderful Big Guy that has taught me to trust and love and given me a safe place for my heart to come home.

My angel cchildren in heaven

the Wee One we never met,

Kierra Raine.

who’s name is music to my ear

longing in my heart,

hope in my future.

Kobe Xander

who amazes me

challenges me

calls me Mom.

and I love like crazy.

I believe

because God has put so much love and peace and hope in the midst of the blood and tears.

I BELIEVE!

So here’s my wish for you this Christmas.

The chance to experience God.

And believe.

It’s something we must each do for ourselves.

Let me assure you. He will meet you and love you and forgive you.

He delights in you.

Just believe.

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So here’s the deal.

This is a white canvas done in Silver script and snowflakes with 50 lights. It measures 16×20 in. and has easy access to the Christmas light’s plug.

Leave your name in the comments below to enter this giveaway. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 8. 

I will contact the winner for their shipping address and you should receive it in no time at all 🙂

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Praying For The Kuhn Family

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This lovely family is Joe and RoseAnn Kuhns.
They were in a tragic accident last night. It rained all day yesterday. A steady dripping rain. Last night their car lost control, and in an eternal instant, there was an awful crash.

Joe is in the hospital for observation. RoseAnn is in critical care in Lancaster General. Janna, 14, is in Hershey Hospital. ( she is standing on the far right in the back on their picture) Hershey has a Pediatric Trauma Center. I heard she was also in critical condition, but I do not know her status this morning. The other four children were not along.

Jennie, 11, went to be with Jesus.

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I did not get to know their family as well as i would like over the last two years since we were very busy taking care of Kierra. When we did make it to church, I would sit on the back bench beside Kierra and just watching Jennie’s exuberant, radiant smile flashing around was enough to cheer anyone up!

One of the first times i met RoseAnn, i immediately noticed the depth and kindness to her eyes. She asked me how she could specifically pray for me. She cared about people. Her and Joe can to visit us at the hospital when we were there with Kierra more then once. They drove a long way. RoseAnn is gentle radiance. Now she is in Critical Condition. Her family needs her so badly. She has a little three year old that is about Kierra’s age. She helped them be friends.

Please! Join me in prayer for all of them! Especially for her right now. I do not know the extent of her inguries, but she was in emergency surgery last night. Things like this are impossible to understand. There are no words, but God , who hears our hearts when words cannot be uttered, is bending His ear today!